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Uncle Ovid's Exercise Book
by Don Webb

A Warning:
Uncle Ovid's Exercise Book is written for mature readers.
Explicit content will be found herein.
You have been warned.


Metamorphosis No. 1
"Eyewake. Caught like Gulliver. Strands of light, blue and red, cover my body. . . ."
Metamorphosis No. 2
"Hector Steelpoint, who thought of himself as one vast pulsating interpenetrating particular but whose neighbors thought of him as the ol' strumpot, has begun a certain disintegration of character since his hypnotherapy. . . ."
Metamorphosis No. 3
"The February sunlight changed the spring water to urine in Dr. Plotner's decoctions. . . ."
Metamorphosis No. 4
"The flesh becoming stale and crystallizing. The eyes fixing. . . ."
Metamorphosis No. 5
"Marco Phillips was born under the sign of the Second Banana or, as they say in the Texas Hemisphere, The Sidekick. . . ."
Metamorphosis No. 6
"Should he mention the Duo-Dimension spell from 'Dungeons and Dragons,' or would Dr. Blake see that reference as too helplessly pop?"
Metamorphosis No. 7
"Gradually his face has come to resemble the face in the photo he found in the park. His jaws ached for weeks -- they were elongating, giving him the crocodilejaws of the photo. . . ."
Metamorphosis No. 8
"Rarified dewy dawn piercing and clean as a scalpel. . . ."
Metamorphosis No. 9
"Succeeding sentences, the second explicitly or implicitly referring to the content of the first (and so on until the text is presumed to be completed), give us the impression of a continuing reality."
Metamorphosis No. 10
"In the sun at noon Radiant Heat Monopoly with a wriggle stood naked. . . ."
Metamorphosis No. 11
"Officially, Comte de Lautreamont, author of Maldrodor, and Comte d'Erlette, author of Cultes des Goules, died on the same day in 1870. . . ."
Metamorphosis No. 12
"landscape like a pizza (especially with the red glow of the Bessemer Towers) so he bites it breaking miles of strata bursting houses farms fields. . . ."
Metamorphosis No. 13
"It was the week of Easter. She brought home her tangerines and endive, the thought of meat long since gone. . . ."
Metamorphosis No. 14
"The old wooden school building (some correspondence and constellation of all evil signs), the buckling juxtaposition of old gas stations, laundromats, frozen custard booths and all the dreary artifacts of an earlier era. . . . "
Metamorphosis No. 15
"My boyfriend was a cabalist. He used to tell me about the sexual nature of the universe after we made love . . . "
Metamorphosis No. 16
"Walking on the gray concrete sidewalk of the park, I am caressed by the knotted yarn on my nipples . . . "
Metamorphosis No. 17
"Her nasal overcorrected voice buzzed on and on filling the classroom like flies . . . Ovid, she said, Oh Vid, suggesting a big egg on a pedestal."
Metamorphosis No. 18
"She had eschewed birth control as an act of terrorism: she wanted to take a hostage."
Metamorphosis No. 19
"It would be pointlessly macabre and wholly inaccurate to say that the book was bound in human skin and written in blood."
Metamorphosis No. 20
"Boom Times. The air of Minacity is a fine aerosol spray of crude oil, the heartbeats of the pumps, and the dust of yet-to-be-paved streets."
Metamorphosis No. 21
"In front of Grant's Tomb are mosaic benches and arches and walls looking like Poe's undersea city."
Metamorphosis No. 22
"Carl Gavitt abandoned TV in favor of his window during the summer months . . . "
Metamorphosis No. 23
"Sally broke her fingers an hour ago. It changed everything."
Metamorphosis No. 24
"You make a poor apprentice."
Metamorphosis No. 25
"The old coin case was in the back of the store."
Metamorphosis No. 26
"Ozone smell from the old machine. The Kid's fingers real deft, real hot tonight."
Metamorphosis No. 27
"The crash is a perfect crystal moment."
Metamorphosis No. 28
"Myrna is a good mother."
Metamorphosis No. 29
"High school biology teaches us that each organism is a self-contained system. . . ."
Metamorphosis No. 30
"Tomas died almost instantaneously in the crash."
Metamorphosis No. 31
"I knew D. before he began writing the Changes."
Metamorphosis No. 32
"The seventh year of an unhappy marriage."
Metamorphosis No. 33
"dead cat passed around for flicking by a group of adolescent boys until it got too ripe"
Metamorphosis No. 34
"There are many Chinese elms in Amarillo, Texas."
Metamorphosis No. 35
"For seventeen years, Paul Ackner commuted to the City."
Metamorphosis No. 36
"It is advisable for those who wish to travel to Carraleur to do so in groups because of the fetish towers."
Metamorphosis No. 37
"I hear you call for help on my answering machine."
Metamorphosis No. 38
"The old man has sea-green kitten eyes."
Metamorphosis No. 39
"You call us Silence Group. So be it. In silence we move. Great primary shadow bodies, all shadows are linked together."
Metamorphosis No. 40
"Being the supplier for the President ain’t easy."
Metamorphosis No. 41
"The doorknob opens a blue eye. Check. No one's at home."
Metamorphosis No. 42
"Dae Ulmob caresses the faded tattoos that brought him to the city of Sibs."
Metamorphosis No. 43
"Now Mr. Williams was an owner and by his owning owned more and more and eventually owned a whole section of the City."
Metamorphosis No. 44
"The skiff was three days Out when it docked at Victoria Island. The sheriffs ran around drinking Foster wearing black Stetsons comparing notches in their .45s."
Metamorphosis No. 45
"William Burroughs theorized, 'Language is a virus from outer space.'"
Metamorphosis No. 46
"A small — roughly man-shaped — piece of ground, where they burned the wino last year and stood in a circle listening to him scream. . . ."
Metamorphosis No. 47
"It's been a bad summer for locusts (or rather a good summer for locusts and a bad summer for everyone else)."
Metamorphosis No. 48
"Publius Ovidus Naso was the first anti-establishment writer. (Look Ms. Moore I can still write a topic sentence!)"
Metamorphosis No. 49
"My friends (who include a mock armadillo) say that I am a man of irregular (but charming) habits."
Metamorphosis No. 50
"Having come to see the universe as a chiaroscuro, where he couldn't see the forms that cast the shadow or emanated the light, Paul decided to exit the same."
Metamorphosis No. 51
"Prohibition in the dusty streets of West Texas. The laws have come in and dried."
Metamorphosis No. 52
"The shrill insect music ends, hanging like a twist of silver wire in the air."
Metamorphosis No. 53
"Sheriff Bradley sez I got to make a statement concerning the fire and why it happened so here goes."
Metamorphosis No. 54
"Of limbs enormous, but withal unsound,
Soft-swoin, and pale, here lay the Hydropsy. . . ."
Metamorphosis No. 55
"Begin with view of New York City from the Hudson."
Metamorphosis No. 56
"a polemic a prediction and a pineapple"
Metamorphosis No. 57
"Jerked by taboo and tea, Michael hides his face behind a white porcelain cup."
Metamorphosis No. 58
"Maybe he should eat something. Blood sugar felt a little low but he wasn't hungry."
Metamorphosis No. 59
"We kept him with the rest of the Greeks because he spoke their language. We were never sure of his nationality or sympathy. He had no papers and claimed to have left memory behind on the island in his carpentry shop."
Metamorphosis No. 60
"He steps out of the video booth and the picture fades."
Metamorphosis No. 61
"The Doctor stopped. His seventh glass of retsina and his eighth attempt to justify the Gernsback-Campbell experiment to his patients."
Metamorphosis No. 62
"We were in a school complex of some sort. I was giving weapons to the revolutionaries."
Metamorphosis No. 63
"I would like to be a six-armed Hindu god."
Metamorphosis No. 64
"Really, Miss Thing, you should cram your slimy pets back into whatever hole they crawled out of."
Metamorphosis No. 65
"The live iguana stands between the plastic Jesus and the magnetic Mary on the sun-split vinyl dashboard."
Metamorphosis No. 66
"Last night American planes bombed 'strategic' targets in Libya. Today war appears inevitable."
Metamorphosis No. 67
"I was packing books for the International Book Program to mail to the Department of English, Shao Yang Teachers College. . . ."
Metamorphosis No. 68
"An exposed layer of oil shale, brown with hematite, muddies the swamp water and sepia-tints the thick-rooted grass."
Metamorphosis No. 69
"His parents told him that the scar on his right side was the reminder of corrective surgery on his liver. Rudy knew the truth."
Metamorphosis No. 70
"One of the oldest and best cons -- as any Gnostic worth his heretical texts knows -- laid on homo saps is the Babel con."
Metamorphosis No. 71
"Now EtherHead was given a prettier and more acceptable name but I won't give it to you cause he has a sister who's an up-and-coming jazz harpist."
Metamorphosis No. 72
"He found himself after an indefinite interval of time on the Deluge Express traveling first class from Minraud to Carcosa."
Metamorphosis No. 73
"Lewis and Clark said, 'The Great American Desert is uninhabitable.' Well I'm not inhabiting it, I'm floating above it."
Metamorphosis No. 74
"Watching the pumps at Thirty-fourth and Queen gives a guy a lot of time to think."
Metamorphosis No. 75
"It was the day after the welfare checks and most of the Project was awakening to the challenge of their hangovers."
Metamorphosis No. 76
"It was there at No. 25 rue d. Dragon — which is a small prognosticator's shop between a repairer of reputations and a shop which sold relics of the future — that I was employed as a woodcutter and shopsweep."
Metamorphosis No. 77
"And it came to pass that the Magician was commissioned to place a curse on Rex Hatfield. . . ."
Metamorphosis No. 78
"In the summer of '83 I was overtaken by fatigue. Tiredness exhaustion futility boredom."
Metamorphosis No. 79
"The dying centaur tries to con me into making a charm from its blood."
Metamorphosis No. 80
"The Pyramid Builder."
Metamorphosis No. 81
"Harry got marked for a hot shot after the Rodwell brothers was busted."
Metamorphosis No. 82
"The practice of magic among the Marind-anim is based on dismay, by a grim despondency that choked his heart as a magic arrow."
Metamorphosis No. 83
"'That's your problem, nervousness about nothing,' but he was writing 'Librium 10 mg.' He didn't know what it was like to be hunted."
Metamorphosis No. 84
"I had a carving dream last knife. It was a beautiful knife full of stars and I was in a fashionable alley by the stage door canteen."
Metamorphosis No. 85
"For a gag Tom switched Hillary's pills. Now awake in the early morning, muttering and counting ceiling stains as the two amphetamines ride the saddle reserved for downers."
Metamorphosis No. 86
"The procession of the ghostly window around the walls — the passing cars — the only stimulus that Rod had had for some hours."
Metamorphosis No. 87
"Marv the Gimp started an 'overcoat' business. He apprenticed three human types — Eric Kustodiev, Jane Skal, and Davey Lorenz — as trapper-furriers."
Metamorphosis No. 88
"He was a pretty kid with gray wolf eyes, that special kind of beauty of a Genet hero."
Metamorphosis No. 89
"A carnival fortune teller told me that travel was my destiny I took the cards as a mandate"
Metamorphosis No. 90
"Dandelions, being the principal flowering plant in the courtyard of my apartment, lead me to think often of dragons."
Metamorphosis No. 91
"He wrote every day because he was afraid that if he stopped he would forget how."
Metamorphosis No. 92
"Our little Rose Window of our little village church began in 1959."
Metamorphosis No. 93
"fruitful — suddenly drawn onto the asphalt loop around the city built with DOD funds with visions of an asphalt-encircled glowing crater."
Metamorphosis No. 94
"He was like a stage magician alla time directin your attention to little bits of stage business."
Metamorphosis No. 95
"The last memory into the Rockin Robin for a drink and to see Mr. Mesmero the stage hypnotist."
Metamorphosis No. 96
"No one had noticed crazy Al for years. So he walks up and down the roads and the alleys at night picking up debris."
Metamorphosis No. 97
"the back lot scattering broken changing flowing images through the weeds and hunks of rusting metal each reflecting a metamorphosis . . . it is not too late to dream of other worlds."

Always seeking work, writer/editor Don Webb has written 14 books of all sizes. If anything rescues him from obscurity, it would be his three mysteries from St. Martin's and nearly 250 science fiction short stories. Webb's work has been translated into 11 languages, and he is a respected teacher of creative writing. He has a secret chili recipe, which has led to numerous attempts on his life.

Cover illustration is © John Picacio.

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    Sci-ku: January 29, 2002

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